Note from the author: Over at The Agony Booth, I’ve been doing long recaps of cheesy action movies. Here, I’ll be covering more or less the same ground but with a focus on the more well-known films in the genre. I thought I'd start off with this movie which is a fantastic throwback to the exact type of movie I will be covering on this blog.
One of the great things in the last few years has been the resurgence of Sylvester Stallone’s career. I’m a huge fan of the guy and it’s great to see him putting out quality films again. Rocky Balboa was a nice sendoff for the series and Rambo was, quite frankly, awesome in its own unique way.
His latest movie is an amazingly fun throwback to the glory days of action films where the macho nonsense was laid on thick, the violence was excessive to the point of hilarity and by the end pretty much anything that could be blown up real good met with that fate.
Sly plays Barney Ross, a mercenary who heads a team that includes Lloyd Christmas (Jason Statham), Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) Yin Yang (Jet Li), Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren).
The plot is a favorite of mine when it comes to cheesy action movies, the good guys have to overthrow a sadistic Central American dictator. Here, the dictator, one General Garza (David Zayas) is being funded by Munroe (Eric Roberts), a former CIA operative who is assisted by Dan Paine (Stone Cold Steve Austin) and The Brit (Gary Daniels).
Ross and company are put onto the job by a shadowy man named Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) and in a wonderfully amusing scene; Ross takes the job after it’s rejected by a fellow mercenary played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yep, the three big names from 80’s action are in one scene together and it’s great!
The movie kicks off with a nice action scene on a boat that ends with Jensen being kicked out of the group for being an unstable nut job. Other action highlights include a hilariously over the top scene Stallone and Statham in a plane that sees Statham getting into a gun turret mounted on the nose of the plane and the wonderfully excessive climax that has enough gunfire, flames, blood and carnage for two movies.
There are simply not enough words to describe how much I love this movie. The performances are great across the board and I should give a special mention to Mickey Rourke at this point. He has a supporting role as a former member of Stallone’s team and serves as the team’s weapons supplier. In a rather neat, inspired moment, he is given time to reminisce about a mission he was on that stuck with him. It’s a wonderfully done moment that is great because it is so out of place. Sure, Stallone tries to tie it in with his character’s psychology but come on...You come to a movie like this for loads of action, not psychological complexity.
Great flick though and Rourke is great in his scenes. I highly recommend this movie for anyone who either was around for this type of movie when it was the norm or wants to know just how great action movies used to be.